Reporting Mike Hellgren
BALTIMORE (WJZ)—The Occupy Wall Street movement causes chaos from Baltimore to the West Coast. In downtown Seattle, police use pepper spray to break up a rowdy protest, injuring an 84-year-old woman and a pregnant woman. It’s one of many violent confrontations around the country as protesters take over public parks and busy streets.
Mike Hellgren explains how some disrupted a high-profile speaking event at Johns Hopkins.
Minutes into his speech at Johns Hopkins University, Occupy movement protesters heckled Karl Rove.
And he fired back.
“If you don’t have the courage to stand here and then ask a question, you’re just showing your moral cowardice,” Rove said.
“Do not be so arrogant and presumptive to think that you’re the only person who has a First Amendment right that needs to be heard,” Rove continued. “Who gave you the right to occupy America? Nobody.”
Hopkins removed 15 people from the auditorium. No one was arrested.
The university says they were not students and that Hopkins was warned about this. But did they tell Rove?
“It was what we called an organized disturbance,” said Tracey A. Reeves, Johns Hopkins University.“We let security know. We were prepared for what might happen.”
Rove’s speech was open to the public. Some students became fed up with the disruption.
“You are not only disrespecting Mr. Rove,” said one student, “you are disrespecting us and the rest of the student body.”
Now a conservative commentator, Rove was senior advisor to President George W. Bush.
“I was honored to be invited to speak at Hopkins,” Rove told WJZ. “And recognize that outbursts did not come from Hopkins students. It’s ironic that people who supposedly stand for free speech would attempt –ineffectually— to deny it to others.”
“I can do this all night long,” Rove told the hecklers. “You want to keep jumping up and yelling you’re the 99 percent? How presumptuous and arrogant can you think you are?”
It didn’t end inside. Protesters chanted “shame,” as Rove left Hopkins’ campus in a black Lincoln.
The university says Rove was able to finish his speech. They said the protesters never tried to go back inside the lecture hall once they were removed.